By Zita Fletcher, Rio Rancho Observer Staff Writer
PUBLISHED: August 20, 2016
Central New Mexico Community College announced the formation of a partnership with Sandoval County to reopen the New Mexico Innovation Laboratory, less than a month after it had been temporarily shut down when it lost its space at Intel.
“We’re very excited to bring a digital media lab to the Rio Rancho campus,” Samantha Sengel, CNM chief advancement and community engagement officer, told attendees at the Sandoval Economic Alliance quarterly luncheon on Tuesday.
The lab formally opened in March and originally was led by Dr. Rod Sanchez.
It will now be staffed by a CNM instructor and housed at CNM’s Rio Rancho campus, Sengel said. It will expand its capabilities through collaborations with CNM Ingenuity and the CNM STEMulus Center in Albuquerque.
“This Innovation Lab is going to align with our business and information technology school,” said Sengel, adding that it will give CNM an opportunity to teach emerging IT technology and support small business in Sandoval County.
CNM will also combine the lab’s features with the expertise of its FUSE Makerspace community center, which allows students and community members to “design, prototype and create manufactured works,” with 3-D printing and electronic fabrication equipment, as well as other tools related to robotics, electronics, screen printing, welding and metalworking. The FUSE Makerspace also supports students with a hackerspace environment to refine and promote projects.
Sengel added that CNM’s IGNITE Community Accelerator will help contribute abilities to launch and grow small businesses.
County spokesman Sidney Hill confirmed the county and CNM are working on an agreement to house the lab at the CNM Rio Rancho campus.
“That is all I can say until the agreement has been completed and signed by the appropriate representatives for both parties,” Hill said.